2016 budget highlights importance of water, science and environment

March 23, 2016

The government’s 2016 Federal budget places a strong emphasis on water and wastewater investments, including improvements to water infrastructure in First Nations communities, as well as green infrastructure. The government’s commitment to supporting science-based institutions, long-term innovation capacity in Canada and mitigating the effects of climate change will strengthen Canada’s ability to be a global leader in water management.

“Canadian Water Network welcomes the two-phase approach taken by the government that addresses both immediate needs and long-term planning,” says Bernadette Conant, CEO of Canadian Water Network. “We look forward to our continued partnership with both the Federal government and our municipal partners to ensure that the investments outlined in the 2016 budget will be used effectively and efficiently for water solutions across the country.”

Budget highlights of investment in infrastructure, environment and First Nations communities:



  • Support and expand protected areas, improve ocean and freshwater science, protect quality of water in Canada’s lakes and oceans, and take action on federal contaminated sites.
    • $81.3 million to support marine conservation activities like the designation and development of new Marine Protected Areas to achieve the target of protecting 10 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2020. 
    • $197.1 million to increase ocean and freshwater science, monitoring and research activities for the Experimental Lakes Area.
    • $3.1 million to improve nearshore water and ecosystem health by reducing phosphorus and algae in Lake Erie.
    • Up to $19.5 million to support the International Joint Commission and manage transboundary water issues.

Green infrastructure

  • $518 million for local governments to strengthen their infrastructure to withstand a changing climate.
  • $2 billion for a clean water and wastewater fund for cities and provinces to improve their water infrastructure and wastewater treatment.

Climate change and air pollution

  • $2.9 billion over five years, in addition to a number of infrastructure-focused spending on both mitigating the effects of climate change and adapting to its realities.

Indigenous/First Nations people

  • $2.24 billion over 5 years to First Nations communities for improvements to reserve water and wastewater infrastructure and waste management

Investments in infrastructure

  • $120 billion in infrastructure over 10 years (2 phases), including public transit, green infrastructure and social infrastructure. Phase 1 will include $5 billion over five years for improving water and wastewater systems, and protecting infrastructure systems from the effects of climate change.

Industry/Research & Development

  • $95 million per year starting in 2016-17 toward Canadian Institutes of Health Research, $30 million for Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, $16 million for Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and $19 million for Research Support Fund.
  • Up to $800 million over four years to support innovation networks and clusters as part of the upcoming Innovation Agenda.

Click here to read the full budget.